It’s August, which means it’s autumn on the retail calendar. Shelves are filling up with merchandise colored orange, decorations shaped like witches, and clothing way too warm for what the weather is actually like right now, because that is how retail works. And, in the caffeinated world, the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is getting ready for its reintroduction on menus across the globe.
This year, though, the beverage will have one crucial difference. Devotées will recall the Great Pumpkin Backlash of ’14, in which we all became frustrated with the abundance of pumpkin- and pumpkin-spiced foods, very few of which actually contained squash or gourds of any kind. For years, “pumpkin” in mass-produced food has really meant “spices you associate with pumpkin pie.” It’s a nice association, but, as far as labeling goes, it’s a dirty, dirty trick.
Starbucks knows this. Which is why the following news has come as an honest-to-God shock: Starting this autumn, the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte will feature honest-to-God real pumpkin. The company will begin including pumpkin purée to the drink, and will simultaneously remove its caramel coloring.
“We have been trying to keep a lid on some big news for the beloved Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte,” the company announced, “but with recipes and ingredients starting to ship to our stores, the buzz is building. What’s the big deal? After hearing from customers and partners about ingredients, we took another look at this beverage…”
And decided that the ingredient list should now be as follows: espresso; milk; pumpkin spice flavored sauce, which includes pumpkin purée; whipped cream; vanilla syrup; and pumpkin spice topping.
So it’s actually a simpler recipe! No word, though, on whether or not it’s got fewer calories than its predecessor.